Photos credit BMW

On the eve of the launch of the BMW M4 GTS, the Bavarians brought some of their older cars out to play too. This has me wondering which one had the best interior—who wore it best, as they say in the world of high fashion.

Here’s what we’re evaluating: the new M4 GTS, its oldest ancestor the E30 M3 Evolution, the E36 M3 GT, the legendary E46 M3 CSL, and the most recent E92 M3 GTS.

The new car is nice and good but it’s very much a modern BMW, dominated by its iDrive screen (and a lot of alcantara here in GTS trim.) I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the new M4 and it’s a very good car, but a little too big and heavy for its own good. Perhaps the GTS fixes that.


Seats look great though.


Next we have the E92. Look, a stripped-out modern-ish car with no screen! That’s really nice. This thing has held up well. That beefy steering wheel is kind of funny a few years down the line, but it’s solid.

Then there’s the legendary M3 CSL from the E46 generation.

Unpopular opinion time: I have to be honest and say that this model of E46 M3 never appealed to me much. I have no doubt it’s excellent to drive, but I’d rather have a modern paddle-shift gearbox or a true manual than BMW’s early SMG effort, which is either dead reliable or a total nightmare, depending on who you ask.


Sick HVAC sliders, bro. Let’s flash all the way back to the M3 Sport Evolution. If you’ve never driven an E30 you might be surprised at how modern one feels inside, even if it doesn’t look the part here.


My God, that seat fabric! I need that in my house.

But for me, the sweet spot is this E36. Just modern enough to be intuitive and also luxurious, but simple enough that you don’t have to screw with much technology—screens, paddle shift gearboxes, whatever—to have a fun time.


This interior is perfect to me. I just want to step inside it right now and drive real angry, as hard as I can. This is what a car interior should look like to me.

Also, green seats. How is that not the best?

I welcome your opinion in the comments below, but I may be on Craigslist trying to find an E36 that hasn’t been thrashed to death.